Are Your Kids ‘In Good Hands’ in Day Care?

BY  |  Monday, Oct 24, 2016 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

in-good-handsAs parents in suburbia, we count on day care to keep our kids cared for, busy—and safe. In a new e-book called In Good Hands, journalist David Hechler suggests that we don’t always think about day care safety in the right ways, and we need to re-examine our ideas of good/bad day care options.

Hechler focuses on a notorious murder case from Irmo, South Carolina. Gail Cutro was convicted of killing two infants in her childcare facility over a stretch of nine months in 1993. As part of a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism fellowship, he spent time in SC researching the murders and trials, and he interviewed Cutro in prison.

In Good Hands not only lays out the specifics of the Cutro case, but also looks at what we get wrong (and right) about day care safety and adds an Appendix of recent interviews with experts about what parents needs to be looking for and thinking about when choosing a day care provider for their children.

Baristanet: What got you interested in the Cutro murder case?

David Hechler: I’d written a book on child sexual abuse. A friend of mine—an expert on child abuse—knew that I was interested in sudden infant death syndrome and the difficulty of distinguishing SIDS from murder. She’d been consulted by the prosecutors in this case and knew that the initial diagnosis of the two babies who died was SIDS. After Gail Cutro was convicted, my friend told me about it and suggested that the trial illustrated just how tricky this issue can be. She was right.

Thinking about your initial view of the case from the articles in The State newspaper, is there anything about the case that changed in your mind after researching it for the book? Continue Reading

Montclair Superintendent Search: Here’s How You Can Help

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 3:55pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair Superintendent Search: Here's How You Can Help

Montclair Board of Education wants the community’s help in its search for a new superintendent:

As you may be aware, the Montclair Board of Education has initiated its search for a new Superintendent. To counsel us through this important process, we have retained the services of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in assisting Boards with the consideration of candidates for Superintendent.

A key step in this process is to identify the characteristics we will be seeking in our new Superintendent. We would greatly appreciate your input and assistance with this important task. We, therefore, invite you to participate in this process in the following ways:

• Attending Open Forums to be held on two dates in November (see below)
• Completing an online survey that will be located on the district website starting October 24, 2016.

The Open Forums, each of which will be facilitated by a member of the consulting firm, will be held as follows:

Dates: Tuesday November 1st , Thursday November 3rd
Time: 6:00pm
Location: Montclair High School George Inness Annex Cafeteria
North Fullerton Ave.

Please complete the online survey by November 11, 2016.

Thank you in advance for your assistance with this most important task.

Members of the Montclair Board of Education

Weekend Family Highlights: The Little Read, Puppets, Frog Princess and More!

BY  |  Friday, Oct 21, 2016 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The weekend is here!! We’ve rounded up our fave fun, family-friendly events to help you spend the time. Check ‘em out!

Montclair Public Library Foundation Announces Eighth Annual Little Read!Montclair Public Library’s Eighth Annual Little Read will be held on Friday and Saturday. Events will be held throughout Montclair, starting with Bedtime Stories at the MPL Main Library Auditorium (50 South Fullerton, Montclair) from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Friday. From 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday, hear stories at various locations. For a full schedule, visit the website. This event is free to the public, but all donations will benefit the Children’s Department of the Montclair Public Library. Continue Reading

Halloween Happenings For Kids and Families

BY  |  Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Halloween is coming! But why wait all the way until the last day of the month to celebrate? If you’re looking to get a jumpstart on the holiday, look no further! There are plenty of fun and family-friendly Halloween activities and events happening nearby over the next few weeks. Get those costumes ready!

presbypumpkin-300x16810/21 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM – Gardens Aglow at Presby Memorial Iris Gardens (474 Upper Mountain Avenue, Upper Montclair) – View the gardens at dusk as they come to life with artfully carved jack-o-lanterns supplied by local high school art departments. Activities, entertainment and refreshments will be on-going throughout the event. Admission is free. Rain date is 10/22.

10/21 – 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM – Haunted Halloween Trail, Bloomfield. Begin behind Demarest School (465 Broughton Avenue, Bloomfield) and stroll on the Bloomfield Morris Canal Green-way. This event is open to children ages 10 and up (children under 13 should be accompanied by an adult). Participants should wear long pants and sneakers/boots. All participants will receive a flashlight, tricks and treats while supplies last. Tickets are available online for $2.00 per person or 6 for $10.00.

10/22 – 4:00 PM – Scream on the Green (84 Broad Street, Bloomfield). From 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM, enjoy light refreshments, trick or treating, bean bag toss, pumpkin patch, and costume contest. At 5:00 PM, magician Bob Conrad will perform. At 6:15, enjoy the holiday classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” on a 25 foot outdoor movie screen! All children must be accompanied by an adult. Be sure to bring a lawn chair or a blanket.

10/22 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM – Scary Plants, Scaredy Pants at Frelinghuysen Arboretum (353 Hanover Avenue, Morris Twp) – Celebrate “HallowGreen” with exhibits of scary, smelly plants from around the world as well as a variety of children’s activities. Plant something to take home and create a vampire-proof necklace. Make cobweb cookies and spider cupcakes. Cost is $10 per child. Registration is required by calling 973-326-7603.

10/22 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM – Costume Crafting at Pyramid Mountain NHA (Intersection of Mars Court and Boonton Avenue, Montville TWP) – Children ages 5 and up can craft fun items to use as part of their Halloween costume. Make a mask or a headband based on the native wildlife of New Jersey. Cost is $5 per child. Registration is required by calling 973-334-3130.

10/22 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM – Scary Sweet: The History of Halloween at Historic Speedwell (333 Speedwell Avenue, Morristown) – Learn the history of this fun and mysterious holiday while making homemade candy. $5 per adult, $4 per senior (65+), $3 per child age 4-16, free for children under age 4.


10/23 3:00 PM – Free Screening of Hotel Transylvania at Mayo Performing Arts Center (100 South Street, Morristown) – Enjoy this animated film (rated PG) about a hotel for monsters run by Dracula! General admission tickets are free and available at the website. You must secure a ticket in advance.

10/23 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM – Mint’s Place Halloween Celebration (74 Morse Avenue, Bloomfield) – Mint’s Place will host a Halloween Party with food, music, games, entertainment and a costume contest. $10 per child age 10 and under. Mommies and Daddies are free!

moonlight trail10/29 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM – Moonlight Blaze at Van Dyck Manor (42 North Mountain Avenue, Montclair) – Tour a trail of over 1,000 hand-carved jack o’lanterns at the 8th Annual Moonlight Trail!

10/29 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM – Great Pumpkin Patch hosted by Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in the Board of Education parking lot (22 Valley Road, Montclair). Enjoy face painting, balloon sculptures, snacks and more!


10/29 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM – Halloween Comic Fest returns to East Side Mags (7 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair) – Halloween Comic Fest is like Free Comic Book Day, but in the fall! Stop by East Side Mags for artists from the Kubert School, a costume contest, free comics and more! Visit the website for more details.

10/29 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM – Tricks ‘n’ Treats at Museum of Early Trades and Crafts (9 Main Street, Madison) – Come in costume for a fun afternoon of playing games, making crafts and nibbling on treats! Enjoy Halloween-themed storytelling and tour the exhibits. Regular admission applies: $5 per child.


10/29 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM – Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University (1003 Morris Avenue, Union) – Pumpkin Patch Day offers a variety of all-ages activities including pumpkin picking, carving and painting, a hayride, and Halloween crafts. $12 for children age 3 and over, $8 for adults. Additional charge for pumpkins. Food available for purchase from vendors. Reservations not required but are suggested. Rain date 10/30.

10/29 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM – Spooky Spectacular Family Festival at Morris Museum (6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown) – Come in costume (or not!) and enjoy pumpkin decorating with paint and bling (pumpkins provided), a spooky scavenger hunt with prizes, parade in the entrance pavilion and costume contest at 1:30 PM. Guess the weight of a pumpkin and win a prize. Admission is free for members; $7 for non-member children and $10 for non-member adults.

10/29 slots between 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM – Teeny Tiny Trail Tales at Great Swamp OEC (247 Southern Blvd, Chatham) – This event is for children ages 2-5 with an adult. Enjoy this less-spooky version Halloween treat. Hear silly and nature-themed tales told by costumed storytellers around the decorated trails of the Great Swamp. Kids are invited to come in costume. Registration for a time slot is required by calling 973-635-6629. Cost is $3 per person.

10/29 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM – A Miller’s Halloween at Cooper Gristmill (66 Route 513, Chester) – Come in costume and enjoy spook-tacular storytelling at 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM. Create corn husk dolls, play old-time games, and tour the Gristmill, looking for surprises around every corner. Free, but donations appreciated.

10/29 slots between 5:30 PM and 7:45 PM – Trail Tales at Great Swamp OEC (247 Southern Blvd, Chatham) – This event is for children ages 6 and up. Hear silly, slightly spooky, and nature-themed tales told by costumed storytellers along the decorated nighttime trails of the Great Swamp. Cider and cookies will be available. Registration is required for a time slot. Cost is $6 per person.

10/30 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM – Historic Halloween Happenings at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm (73 Kahdena Road, Morris Township) – Play festive Halloween games, decorate cookies, and try on old-fashioned costumes. At 3:30, take a guided walk and find all the jack-o-lanterns hiding in the nearby woods. Board the open-air wagon for a ride back to the Visitors Center. Cost is $6 per adult, $5 per senior (65+), $4 per child age 4-16, $2 per child ages 2 & 3, free for children under age 2.

10/31 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM – Toddler Trek: Going Batty at Great Swamp OEC (247 Southern Blvd, Chatham) – This event is for children ages 2 and 3 with an adult. Enjoy a story read aloud to learn about bat habits and habitats, followed by a walk on the trail. Cost is $5 per child. Registration is required by calling 973-635-6629.

10/31 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM – Safe Howl-O-Ween at Turtle Back Zoo (560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange) – Trick or treat at the Zoo! There will be candy stations throughout the grounds. Also, swing by the famous “Not-So-Scary” Train Ride! Admission is $# for Zoological Society members and $5 for non-members.

Join The Party! Introducing WeBop, Preschool Classes at Jazz House Kids!

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 19, 2016 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair’s Jazz House Kids is getting WeBop, a Jazz at Lincoln Center Program that introduces little musicians to the spirit of jazz. The Jazz House in downtown Montclair is the only WeBop location in New Jersey.


WeBop is an eight week program for children ages 3-5 along with their parents to explore the building blocks of musical creativity and imagination. Little beboppers sing, swing and stomp to live music. Through movement, song and storytelling, children and their grownups will learn about musical concepts, instruments and have fun through jazz!

To introduce these new classes, Jazz House Kids is hosting free jazz parties!

Test drive a class at one of two free Jazz Parties!
Sunday, November 6th, 10:00 – 10:45 am
Thursday, November 10th, 10:00 – 10:45 am
Space is Limited so please RSVP today!

Starting in December, WeBop classes will begin!

Registration is OPEN for 45-minute, 8-week classes starting in December!
Sundays 10:00 – 10:45 am
Wednesdays 10:00 – 10:45 am
Thursdays 9:00 – 9:45 am
Thursdays 10:00 – 10:45 am
Tuition: $250 (includes $10 registration fee)

WeBop is a Jazz at Lincoln Center program, with curriculum development by educators at Columbia Teacher’s College.

Montclair BoE Begins Superintendent Search, Focus Groups To Start in November

BY  |  Tuesday, Oct 18, 2016 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The Montclair Board of Education’s regular monthly meeting on October 17 devoted an hour to schedule business and two hours to a last-minute add-on.  But that add-on was not an issue of minor importance; it was, in fact, a preliminary session with representatives from Hazard, Young and Attea (HYA) and Associates to begin the process of selecting a permanent replacement for Interim Schools Superintendent Ronald Bolandi.

Montclair Interim Schools Superintendent Ronald Bolandi and Montclair Board of Education President Jessica de Koninck

Montclair Interim Schools Superintendent Ronald Bolandi and Montclair Board of Education President Jessica de Koninck

Executive search associates Bard Drager, a former superintendent of the Livingston district, Dwight Pfennig started going over the process with the board by explaining the search for potential candidates.  The idea was to spend time reaching out to people in the district in order to get a feel of what Montclair residents are looking for in a schools superintendent.  Drager and Pfennig explained that they would hold focus groups with different segments of the population – community leaders, teachers, parents of current schoolchildren, parents of pre-schoolers – to get a basic understanding of what the district needs.  The search is to focus on what’s working in the district, the challenges facing Montclair, and the characteristics that Montclair are looking for in a superintendent.   The resulting leadership profile concocted by the search firm would then set out to identify candidates that fit the criteria and allow the board to interview and examine candidates for the job before making a final decision – hopefully by February.  Superintendent Bolandi is scheduled to leave at the end of March. Continue Reading

Montclair Film Festival Emerging Filmmaker Competition Now Open

BY  |  Monday, Oct 17, 2016 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)


Submissions are now open for Montclair Film Festival’s annual Emerging Filmmaker program (EFC). This competition is open to students from around the world interested in submitting short films in the Narrative, Documentary, Comedy, and Experimental film categories. This year’s program will also offer special Social Impact Awards for young filmmakers who engage with social issues in their work.

Submissions will be accepted until March 1, 2017, with the selections announced on March 24, 2017. Selected films will be screened at the 2017 Montclair Film Festival, April 28-May 7, 2017, with awards distributed and a special filmmaker party held during the MFF. Continue Reading

Weekend Family Highlights: Duck Derby, Princess and The Pea and Much More

BY  |  Friday, Oct 14, 2016 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Happy weekend! Looking for something fun to do? We’ve rounded up plenty of fun activities the whole family can enjoy!


Visit Watchung Booksellers (54 Fairfield Street, Montclair) for Saturday Morning Author/Illustrator Storytime at 10:30 AM. This week’s guest is Ozi Okaro, author of My Africa Vacation. Travel with five-year-old Arinze and his older sister, Cheta, on their summer vacation across Africa. Beginning in Africa, they visit 10 countries, go on safari, and explore many historical and architectural wonders. They visit their grandfather in Nigeria, discovering a new pride in their roots.

Family Fun! Montclair Ambulance Unit “Hatches” 1st Annual Duck Derby

On Saturday, Edgemont Park (Montclair) will host Montclair Ambulance Unit’s First Annual Duck Derby at Montclair Recreation’s Fall Fest at 12:00 PM. Admission to the event is free. Enjoy hay rides, live music, a magic show, and other activities. At 3:00 PM, hundreds of yellow rubber ducks will race through the lake at Edgemont Park to win prizes!

The Princess and the Pea at SOPAC

SOPAC (One SOPAC Way, South Orange) will present The Princess and the Pea on Saturday at 2:00 PM. The beloved tale by Hans Christian Andersen comes to life in this musical event. The fairy tale tells of a princess vying for a prince, but questioning her worthiness. This classic tale of staying true to oneself is recommended for ages 4-10 and runs approximately 60 minutes. Tickets are $18.

Montclair Public Library (50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair) will host a Kids’ Family Concert on Saturday at 12:00 PM. The Jungle Gym Jam, led by Jason and Amy Didner, have been traveling all summer performing songs from their new album, Lollipop Motel. Their back in their hometown of Montclair to rock out with this interactive show. Do a freeze dance, meet an 80-million year old dinosaur, stand tall like superheroes, and more! All ages welcome. Registration is required.

Montclair Art Museum (3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair) will host its monthly Third Saturday Family Art Adventure from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM on Saturday. Explore and discuss artworks in the galleries and engage in a fun hands-on project in the studio. For children 6–12 and their adult companions. Reservations not required. Tickets are $18.00 per family for non-members; $6.00 per family for members.

Belleville Public Schools’ 2nd Annual Hispanic Heritage Festival will be held on Saturday from 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM at Belleville High School (100 Passaic Avenue, Belleville). Stop in for food, fun, music, dancing, information sharing, a bounce house, and games. Student talents will be celebrated with cultural performances and there will be activities for the entire family. Admission is free to this event. Rain date is October 22.


Just Kidding at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway, NYC) will continue its performance series on Saturday at 11:00 AM with LARD Dog and the Band of Shy. The New York Times described them as having “a rockabilly sound with a Devo sensibility.” This all-ages show features interactive props, multi-media graphics and a pretzel toss. Tickets are $17 ($14 for members) and expected run time is 60 minutes.

On Sunday, stop by the 6th Borough Market, a family and pet-friendly outdoor market near waterfront (Christopher Columbus Drive and Hudson Street, Jersey City, one block from Exchange Place PATH and Light Rail). While there, be sure to stop by the booth of Lotus and Bug, a yoga-inspired clothing company owned by two Montclair moms, to check out their new fall styles.

Also on Sunday, stop by Montclair Art Museum for Drop-In Studio between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. The new Helen & Bill Geyer Art Studio will be stocked with a range of art materials to explore with a seasoned MAM studio instructor. This is free for members and included in Museum admission for non-members.

For more upcoming events, check out the family friendly events, showcased in green, on Baristanet Calendar.

Mountain Biking To Become School Sport in Montclair

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 12, 2016 2:30pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

Calling all middle and high school students interested in mountain biking!

New Jersey Interscholastic Cycling League, a chapter of NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association), is turning mountain biking into a school sport! Attend a meeting Thursday, October 13 to learn more about NICA and how to get involved. There are races, and while athletes are encouraged to race, if they prefer not to, they can still participate at practices, group rides and other events! No prior experience needed.


Kenny Loggins Brings Footloose To Montclair, 10/13

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 12, 2016 8:30am  |  COMMENTS (2)

kennylogginsKenny Loggins’ remarkable four-decade-plus career has brought him from the top of the charts to the toast of the Grammys. He’s had smash hits on Hollywood’s favorite soundtracks, rocked worldwide stages, and found his way into children’s hearts while bringing his soulful, beautiful voice to platinum albums of a stunning variety of genres. Earlier this month, he received the “Humanitarian of the Year” award by Little Kids Rock.

Loggins, who had a No. 1 hit with the theme song from the 1984 movie “Footloose,” has written a children’s book of that name, which comes with a CD featuring a new children’s version of the song. He will sign copies of the book and also perform a short set of music this Thursday, October 13, 7 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at 67 Church Street. The event is co-presented by Watchung Booksellers and Outpost in the Burbs. Continue Reading

Featured Comment

Christie's political career is finished and quite frankly, the state of New Jersey is so over him and his big mouth bully tactics that we're all wishing his replacement was part of the Nov 8 election. Hooking his caboose to the disastrous Trump campaign is his only option.

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